Top positive review
68 people found this helpful
Makes you think about your writing
on 2 March 2002
This is the second book from the Elements of Fiction Writing series that I've read (the first was Characters and Viewpoint, which is also excellent).
Beginnings, Middles, and Ends is a readable and informative guide to creating stories that hang together from the opening paragraph to the final page. There's advice here for both novelists and short-story writers (but most of the material is general, with specifics noted where necessary).
Kress provides so much excellent guidance for each stage (beginning, middle, end) that it's impossible to choose one part as being more useful than any other. In fact, the crucial message for me was the interconnectedness of these three things: the implicit promise that's set up in the beginning, developed in the middle, and paid off at the end.
Within that, there are all sorts of nuggets that will, for example, help you write opening paragraphs to grab the reader's (or editor's) attention, and craft endings that don't leave the reader feeling let down. There's also some more general advice on approaches to revision, dealing with writers' block, etc.
All in all, this will be a welcome addition to any aspiring writer's "craft of writing" shelf.